History of Dub Music

© Steve Barrow & Peter Dalton - The Rough guide to reggae

The word 'dub' is now used throughout the world of dance music to describe a remix. It's not so widely recognized, however, that the technique of the remix was pioneered in Jamaica as far back as 1967, initially in the quest for sound-system exclusivity, but soon exploited as an economic and imaginative way of reusing already recorded rhythm tracks. Broadly speaking, the history of dub in Jamaica has passed through three phases. First there were the so-called 'instrumentals', not originally conceived as such, but becoming so by the removal of the vocal track. Initially these instrumentals were strictly for sound-system play, but before too long they were being issued commercially. Versions on which the contribution of the studio engineer was more obvious then emerged around the end of 1968, and by 1970 these remixes called 'versions' were appearing on the B-sides of most Jamaican singles. The producer would have the engineer remove all, (or most), of the original vocal, leaving the raw rhythm track, which could be spiced up with a deejay adding shouted exclamations and/or extra instrumentation. Besides offering further entertainment to dancers and record buyers, these 'versions' provided sound systems with tracks for their own deejays to talk, or 'toast', over. [Read more...]

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